Cyclist visits Glen Arbor on 2,400-mile trek to help incarcerated reenter society

From staff reports

Tim Ward is eager for more people to know about the Chance for Life (CFL) organization. That’s why he recently completed a remarkable 22-day journey to build awareness and raise funds for the groundbreaking program that successfully trains individuals incarcerated in prisons as they return to communities.

Ward stopped in Glen Arbor as part of the 2,400-mile Trace Michigan tour. He and his wife, Mary, are part-time Glen Arbor residents after buying a home here in 2015, just before the Aug. 2 megastorm. Family, friends, and colleagues gathered at Rinco Bros, the coffee roastery next to Lake Street Studios on Saturday, July 29, to encourage Ward as he began another day on the road. Rinco Bros owner Mark Ringlever offered free coffee to guests that morning. A portion of each sale from the company’s Peloton Power espresso roast coffee benefits CFL.

Ward is the president of Michigan Legislative Consultants, a Lansing lobbying firm that has been driving policy change for more than half a century. After 35 years of political consulting, government service, and advocacy experience, Ward values societal reform that features innovation and strategic thinking. That led him to Chance for Life.

“Chance for Life is a progressive transformational program that works,” said Ward. “The group has developed an approach that changes the community and creates a better future one life at a time.”

Through job training, job placement, mentoring, and family reintegration, CFL provides the tools needed so core members become rational, critically thinking people that are motivated to help themselves and others. Ward said the recidivism rate of CFL’s core members is just 6 percent, and those are mostly technical violations.

“This is a bold strategy that breaks the cycle of despair,” Ward said. “By teaching behavioral and life skills, these residents can transition into the community that has changed significantly during their absence. CFL helps people move beyond the mistakes of the past and build brighter futures.”

Following the CFL’s pledge to “go the extra mile” for the people they serve, Ward mapped out a unique plan to help spread the word about the nonprofit organization. Because of his longtime passion for cycling, Ward launched the Trace Michigan tour. During the journey, which took more than three weeks, Ward rode his bicycle around the entire Lower and Upper Peninsulas. He started in Detroit on July 10 and ended there on Aug. 3.

For more information about the nonprofit visit ChanceForLifeOnline.org.